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Chapter 1 : Tracking the Hunters
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Hermione Granger looked up from her desk in the Auror branch of the Ministry of Magic and sighed. “What will you be doing instead?” she asked, a bit exasperated. This was not the first time that this had happened.
“I’m going on a raid with Potter,” said Gary excitedly, his sandy hair ruffled. “We have to leave now, so I won’t get the time to do the papers.”
Gary Saunders was a year younger than Hermione, yet even he had done more fieldwork than Hermione had in the two years that she had been working under her best friend, who, quite simply, did not want Hermione in any danger.
“Sure, Gary,” said Hermione finally. Gary’s blue eyes lit up and he hugged her tightly.
“Thank you so much!” Gary praised, leaving the room after handing her the file on the latest criminals that the Hunters had brought in.
Hermione narrowed her eyes as she read the name under the “Apprehended By:” section. The Hunters.
The Hunters were a group of vigilantes that had surfaced after Hermione’s seventh year at Hogwarts, and after Lord Voldemort had been defeated.
They went after former Death Eaters and criminals, attacking them and then leaving them at the Ministry, bound and gagged, with their wands in a bundle beside them.
No one really knew how the name Hunters had come about. Whether that was what they called themselves or what people called them, "the Hunters" was now the group’s name.
The Hunters were causing quite a conflict in the Ministry, because while they did bring in wizarding criminals, their methods were crude and thuggish, and oftentimes, the felons accused the Hunters of using the Cruciatus Curse on them, though there was never any proof.
There was not much public outcry about arresting them, but the Ministry of Magic did have principles to uphold. The Aurors felt similarly. They resented the Hunters for thinking that they were higher than the law, and Hermione was no exception to that thought.
She was twenty one years old and had been working as an Auror for two years. Her best friend, Harry Potter, was the head of the Aurors.
The only problem with working under Harry, as she had been for most of those two years, was that Harry was reluctant to send her on raids, or indeed, to let her do any kind of field work. She had come much too close to death in that final battle, and Harry was overprotective to the point of insanity.
Hermione Granger had spent almost all of her time as an Auror filing paperwork, which was a blatant misuse of her intelligence and bravery.
Still, what was she going to do?
Hermione muttered a charm and a silvery figure burst forth from the end of her wand, trotting out of her cubicle. Moments later, Harry Potter walked over.
“Hey, Hermione,” he greeted her. “Need something?”
“What do I have to do to get you to let me go out on one of the raids?” she asked him bluntly. “I didn’t become an Auror to just sit back and write out papers all the time, you know!”
Harry sighed, having had this conversation before. “I just don’t want to lose you. I came too close to it once before...”
“I’m not a little child,” said Hermione fiercely. “It’s not your job to protect me!”
“Fine,” Harry said suddenly. “You want an assignment? I’m giving you this one: bring me the leader of the Hunters—you’re familiar with that group, I’m sure—and you can go on the next raid that pops up.”
Hermione’s face lit up. “Great!” she exclaimed. “Got any leads yet?”
“Nope, that’s for you,” said Harry, leaving the room feeling pretty pleased with himself. The Hunters were too good at hiding; there was no way that Hermione would actually get near the leader.
Once Harry had left, Hermione felt like slapping him. He wasn’t really giving her a fair chance, since even the most junior Aurors always received a case file with background information on their targets. But she would manage—she would get this so-called leader.
Hermione began with several contacts she had made over the years.
“Do you know anything about the Hunters?” she asked a dirty man with a pipe in his mouth. When the man made no reply, Hermione said threateningly, “Come on, Mundungus, you’ll get ten years for those stolen cauldrons I know you have hidden inside that overcoat.”
Mundungus Fletcher dropped the pipe in his agitation and replied hastily, “I don’ know nothing about the Hunters, but Lenny Cyding might. They got him last week.”
It then became apparent that Hermione was going to have to make a trip to Azkaban to talk to the prisoners there who had been brought in by the Hunters.
“The Hunters?” said the thin man with missing teeth. “Them is some scary people, that’s fer sure.”
“Did you see any of their faces?” Hermione asked, beginning to become frustrated with the lack of help she was receiving from everyone.
“Nope, but the one they all took orders from sure was strong—I think he was a blonde.”
All of the other interviews went similar to this, although the description of the man she was looking for varied from tall and lean to short and fat, and the hair color changed from person to person. That, combined with the dreary atmosphere from all the Dementors at Azkaban, made for a very depressing day.
By her second day on the case, Hermione was back at square one. She lay in her bed inside her small apartment, wondering how on earth she was going to make contact with the Hunters.
Then it came to her: the only people who had met the Hunters were criminals. So if she pretended to commit a crime…perhaps the Hunters would come to her. Then it would be a simple matter of finding their leader and arresting him.
As a result of this idea, Hermione was now in Knockturn Alley, talking with an ugly old man about how tight the security at Borgin and Bourke’s was.
She took pains to make sure that she was talking loud enough for any passersby to hear, hoping that a member of the Hunters would be informed.
“Who would be easier to take down, Borgin or Bourke?” she asked loudly, not troubling to keep her voice down.
“Borgin,” said the seedy man, his eyes focused on the flesh revealed by the modest V-neck of Hermione’s shirt. “He's smaller and careless.”
"When does he work?"
"7 pm to 7 am, love."
“Thank you, sir,” said Hermione demurely, resisting the urge to add pervert onto that sentence.
At seven o’clock that night, Hermione waited for Bourke to leave and Borgin to show up. As the two men changed shifts, Hermione prepared to enter the store. She didn’t know what she was going to do when she got in there unless the Hunters showed up quickly, but she decided to take a shot at it.
Hermione had just stood up from her hiding place behind the trash cans when a piece of metal came down hard on the back of her head.
She was down with one blow, not even getting a chance to draw her wand.
Well, this is a new story from me, so I hope you liked it! Please leave me a review to let me know if you like the plot idea I had =]
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